The Phidgets' SBC Tank


The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby Robert » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:43 pm

Just to let you know, I had issues posting the pictures, getting a "It was not possible to determine the dimensions of the image." error, so i've hyperlinked them instead.

I figured it was about time to show YOU guys what Phidgets builds with their products. Introducing, the SBC Tank. ... %20002.jpg

Based off of an old RC Tank, all of the electronics were stripped out, and replaced with phidgets. Powering the tank are a pair of 12v, 9AH batteries (Soon to be replaced with LiPo for weight savings).

At the front, a webcam so that you can see where the tank is roaming: ... M_Tank.jpg

At the back, a TextLCD so that you can monitor status messages, and battery voltage ... %20004.jpg

Inside, there is a low voltage motor controller that controls the position of the turret, and firing of the gun. There's a potentiometer right in the middle of the turret gear so that you can determine the turret's position. You can also see a USB hub in there, connecting all of the phidgets, and other USB devices. ... %20005.jpg ... %20007.jpg

Up front, we have a high current motor controller running the tank's drive motors, as well as a SSR board (Actually a prototype dual SSR board) controlling the head light. There are two current sensors installed in the front, one monitors current draw by the motors and head light, and the other monitors charge current through the front of the tank. The two bumpers you see are actually magnets, which allow the tank to drive up to, and attach itself to a charging station. There is also a distance sensor mounted between them. ... %20008.jpg

At the heart of the tank, a Phidget SBC. This particular one is an old prototype, hence the green circuit board. ... %20009.jpg

At the back, a voltage sensor, some power switches, and status LEDs. The large black box is a wireless relay contol box, allowing us a safety cutoff to the drive motors should the robot ever get out of control. ... %20010.jpg

The tank can be driven from a PC with some software, or, with this remote! ... %20013.jpg

It may look like a normal RC controller, but inside is another SBC! ... %20014.jpg

Most of the connectors have been de-soldered due to space constraints. The controller is currently running off of a single 9v battery as it's new LiPo battery is on order.

Tell us what you think.


Re: The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby droswell » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:13 am

I think that your tank is kick-ass!

Nice build - a good practical demonstration of what the SBC board can do. I really like the magnet docking idea - I imagine it works better than the IR type.

Just have to build a few more - add lasers to the turrets and receivers on the body. Provide web access and we can play tank combat via the web!


Re: The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby jmilgram » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:02 am

Very cool. Thanks for the detailing.

Q: How much does your Phidgets SBC Tank weigh? And about how long before a battery recharge?



Re: The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby Robert » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:42 am

The tank weighs a fair bit, maybe 25lbs with the lead acid batteries. I couldn't give you an estimate on run time, as these batteries are no longer holding a charge, and we're planning on switching it over to LiPo.


Re: The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby andrenilsen » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:00 pm

Just one quick question: Is the webcam streaming the video feed over LAN? And how do you do that with a interfacekit? I didn't tought that the interfacekit supported the video4linux driver.


Re: The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby Robert » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:10 am

Yes the webcam streams over the lan. The feed has nothing to do with the interfacekit. The webcam is plugged into the SBC, which broadcasts the stream. You can try it out if you ahve an SBC by going to http://(sbc_ip):81/


Re: The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby jmilgram » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:22 am


Did you use the 1064 - PhidgetMotorControl HC?

And what where the DC motors you used?



Re: The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby Robert » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:08 am

Yes, I used the 1064. The motors came with the tank shell.


Re: The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby fusion » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:27 am

what is the tank's model?
do you have any link?
i want to make something similar with SBC and iphone control..


Re: The Phidgets' SBC Tank

Postby Robert » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:57 am

It's an Ultimate Soldier M5 Stuart tank

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